Harrow Council has watered-down its plans to ban duck feeding in a popular park following a backlash from local residents.
Harrow Council proposed fining people who fed the birds but have chosen to allocate a designated place in the park to do it instead. Under plans for a public space protection order (PSPO), an outright ban on feeding the ducks in Pinner Memorial Park was proposed, with perpetrators hit with a £100 fine.
The council said it creates a ‘public health nuisance’ but residents said the ban would deny them the ‘simplest of joys’.
After rowing back on the plans, Pinner Memorial Park will now be trialled as the first to have a “dedicated bird feeding area” for families to enjoy and will be located near the pond. The area will be “clearly signposted” and is expected to be introduced early next year.
Resident Hugh Brown, who previously raised concerns about the planned ban, said he was “pleased” with the change but remained critical of the PSPO.
Hugh told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “While I’m pleased that Harrow Council has watered-down its ridiculous duck feeding ban, it’s a shame that other equally unfair and draconian proposals remain unchanged.”
The new plan will not be implemented in other parks across the borough until each park has been individually assessed, and a designated bird feeding area has been identified.
The refined PSPO will also empower park teams to address rodent infestations by temporarily restricting bird feeding in a park until the issue is resolved.
The PSPO was revised based on feedback from residents, with the council stating that 60% of respondents agreed with the ban on bird feeding in parks. However, on housing estates, bird and wildlife feeding will be allowed unless signage indicates otherwise.
Councillor Anjana Patel, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Infrastructure, and Community Safety, explained, “We are conscious that some properties on housing estates may not have gardens, so this change was made to allow bird feeding in appropriate areas on housing estates. It also ensures that owners feeding their pets are not caught by this prohibition.”
Additional controls over the number of dogs that can be walked at once will also come into force when the orders become active in 2024. The new limit will be four, on or off lead, but professional dog walkers can apply for a special certificate from the licensing team.
The council approved the updated plan at a recent Cabinet meeting (September 14), which is designed to tackle “low-level crime and antisocial behaviour” in the borough’s parks, town centres and housing estates.
Cllr Patel said: “Residents and businesses are fed up with anti-social behaviour. Not only does it cause a nuisance, but it ruins people’s enjoyment and peace as they go about their daily lives in our parks, town centres and public spaces.”
She added: “We want to make our protection orders better so that they tackle issues that matter to them and deters those from engaging in nuisance behaviour.
“I’d like to thank everyone who fed back on our consultation which will help us restore pride in our borough and keep our borough clean and safe.”